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DOJ Asks Supreme Court To Review Hobby Lobby's Contraception Mandate Case

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The U.S. Department of Justice has petitioned the Supreme Court to review the craft-supply chain Hobby Lobby's case against the rule requiring employers to cover contraception in their health plans.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in June that the Christian-owned Hobby Lobby should not be subject to fines for not complying with the requirement while it argues the birth-control rule in court. The rule, enacted under the Affordable Care Act, requires all for-profit, non-religious companies to include contraception coverage in their health insurance plans at no out-of-pocket cost to women.

Two other federal appeals courts ruled the opposite way. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that Autocam Corp., an automotive and medical manufacturer, must comply with the Obama administration's contraception rule.

The 3rd Circuit ruled in July that Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., a for-profit company run by a Mennonite family, is highly unlikely to succeed in its challenge of the Obamacare rule. Attorneys for Conestoga petitioned the Supreme Court to review the case, explaining in their petition for writ of certiorari that the owners "object as a matter of conscience to facilitating contraception that may prevent the implantation of a human embryo in the womb."

In all three cases, the companies filed against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services challenging the contraception law requirement. The DOJ is representing the department in each case.

Because the appeals courts have split in their decisions on the cases, which involve the legality of a federal rule, the Supreme Court is "highly likely to take one or more of these cases," according to Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union.

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